I met you on the beach in Tybee Island, giddy for my first New Year’s Eve kiss with a boyfriend. I missed the countdown, though, so when fireworks started going off I was confused. Was it midnight? Justin reached for me and tried to kiss me, but I was still trying to figure out what happened.
2017, you took me by surprise.
When I think about the beginning of our relationship it feels like another lifetime. I can’t believe we’ve been through so much together. Thankfully, you’ve been kinder to me than the last few years have been.
I’d go as far to say you may have been the best year of my life.
In February you took me to the Dominican Republic for work. I knew it was likely my only work trip of the year. I was right. I didn’t mind because I knew my season was changing. It was time to start making space for other things.
In March you took me to South America with Justin and Daniel. On the third day, Justin got down on one knee. It was weeks before it felt real.
A few weeks later I experienced my most intense moment with God out of the whole year – it still makes me tear up thinking about it. He gave me the wedding venue of my dreams. It was so much more than the venue, though. It was that deep place in my heart he reached down and touched with his grace.
In April you whisked me away to Texas for a women’s retreat. It was amazing; I was undeserving. When they washed my feet I wept.
A week later I found my dream wedding dress and couldn’t stop smiling. This was probably my second favorite day of the year (after my wedding day.) It was just all too good to be true.
I turned 31 in May. It was rainy. Justin took me to Atlanta for the day and I had dinner with my girlfriends. A simple birthday.
Summer brought lots of work – training camps and debriefs and new hires. It wore me out more than I realized. My mom took me to Alaska at the end of July – it was there I felt the beginning of burnout.
Alaska was incredible.
August brought 2 wedding showers and a bachelorette weekend.
September. The month I got married. The week leading up to my wedding was a disaster – Hurricane Irma hit, resulting in a loss of power (and my sanity), I was on my period, and I was moving. This was easily my least favorite week of the entire year. I cried like the world was ending. God bless a fiancé who comforted me and roommates who continued to celebrate me amidst my tears.
My wedding day was as everyone says – the happiest day of my life. I always thought it would be the happiest because you are getting married, duh. After living it I know it’s because all my friends and family were together in one place. Friends from high school, college, Adventures in Missions. Family from Ohio, Boston, New York. All together to eat, drink, and dance. It was heaven on earth.
Soon after getting married I felt the weight of my burnout. Getting out of bed to go to work took all my energy. I had very little drive; I didn’t feel like myself. My biggest dream in life was to sleep in and have no responsibilities.
In October I flew to New York City to see Anna. We got lost in Central Park, wandered through the Met, slurped up tasty ramen from Ippudo, saw Anastasia on Broadway, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and waited in line for lox bagels from Russ & Daughters. New York City always makes me feel alive.
I signed up for counseling in November and cried my way through the first half of the session. I realized the night before just how much stress I had been carrying from working at a nonprofit the last few years. My counselor told me I needed to lean into my husband, to allow him to shepherd me where I used to shepherd myself.
The next day I left for my honeymoon. Honeymooning in New Zealand had been a dream of mine since I was in high school. 15 years later, that dream was fulfilled. I’ll never forget the joy I felt when swimming with wild dolphins.
December brought my first Christmas as a married woman. I loved everything about it. At the end of the month I flew to Texas for a reunion with C squad at the Floyd’s ranch. We talked and worshiped, played games and ate good food.
2017, you’ve outdone yourself. I started the year with a boyfriend and ended with a husband. I still can’t wrap my mind around that. I had the privilege of standing as a bridesmaid in 3 weddings. I traveled to outstanding places. I got a kitten. I could go on and on and on…
But now it’s time to say goodbye.
Please know I will never forget you – you are the year my dreams came true.